Friday, May 4, 2012
D-Crit, the graduate program in design criticism at School of Visual Arts, has just minted their third class of MFA students. “Eventually Everything,” a half-day conference featuring talks by the students and invited design professionals took place this past Wednesday. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend for work reasons. I was able to live-stream the last hour or so which was terrific, but not quite the same as being there in person.
In Tara Gupta’s critique of health club design she analysed the “you are being watched” décor of nonstop mirrors and glass as reminiscent of the philosophy behind the panopticon prison design. And that’s not the only thing prison-like about health clubs. Turns out the exercise machines have more to do with torture devices than mere looks. Treadmills were popular in early Victorian era British prisons. Inmates walked for hours as enforced labor to power mills, and the mind-numbing monotony was thought to be a most effective form of punishment.
I was astonished to learn in Barbara Eldredge’s “Missing the Modern Gun: Object Ethics in Collections of Design,” that while we have enough guns in this country to arm every man, woman, and child, NOT ONE single design museum in the U.S. has a modern gun in its collection. Talk about denial!!!
You can read summaries of the talks here, and the videos should be available for viewing sometime in the next two weeks. You can view video of the 2011 and 2010 conferences there as well.